Caring for Your Braces Nautical Dental & Braces dentist in san Antonio Tx Dr. Eric D. Cornelius, DDSAt Nautical Dental and Braces, Dr. Cornelius and his team work hard to help patients achieve their dream smiles. One way he does this is by offering orthodontic treatment. At his office, Dr. Cornelius provides two main types of orthodontic treatment: traditional metal braces and clear aligners in San Antonio, Texas. Both treatments have special care instructions to keep your teeth healthy during the treatment. 


Caring for Clear Aligners

Compared to traditional metal braces, clear aligners are easier to care for. Dr. Cornelius recommends that patients clean their aligners each morning and night by brushing them with a toothbrush. Toothpaste can be abrasive, and patients should avoid placing toothpaste on their aligners. 

  • Rinse Before Use. Patients should rinse off the aligner before placing them back into their mouths after eating. Clear aligners give patients the freedom to eat the foods they want. Patients remove the aligner and eat their favorite chewy, complex, and sticky foods. Before placing the aligner back into their mouth, patients should brush their teeth and rinse off their aligners. This prevents bacteria from getting stuck between their aligner and their teeth. 
  • Place in a Container. People should also avoid placing their clear aligners in a napkin or paper towel while eating. At Nautical Dental and Braces, we highly encourage patients to put their clear aligners in a case. If aligners are placed in napkins or paper towels, they can easily be mistaken for trash and thrown away. 
  • Do Not Use Hot Water. When rinsing your aligners, patients should use cold to lukewarm water. Clear aligners are made of plastic, and hot water can change the aligner’s shape. The hot water could damage the aligner so that they no longer fit in your mouth. 
  • Avoid Colored Drinks. If you like to drink colored juice, avoid drinking it with your clear aligner in your mouth. Colored drinks can stain the aligner and decrease the discrete appearance of the aligner. 


Caring for Traditional Metal Braces

Caring for traditional metal braces is more intensive than caring for clear aligners. Conventional metal braces cannot be removed easily, so patients need to clean around the braces to keep their teeth healthy. 

  • Brush Thoroughly. Patients with traditional metal braces are encouraged to brush their teeth more often than patients without conventional braces. Patients should brush their teeth at least twice a day and are encouraged to brush their teeth after every meal. At Nautical Dental and Braces, we suggest that patients use low abrasive, fluoridated toothpaste with a soft bristle toothbrush. This will help remove debris and bacteria on the teeth and braces. Patients should also brush horizontally and diagonally in all directions to reach every crevice of the tooth. 
  • Floss Well. It is essential to floss well with traditional braces because debris can quickly get stuck between the teeth and braces, leading to dental decay. At Nautical Dental and Braces, Dr. Cornelius recommends that patients use a flossing pick or thread. Patients can also use a water flosser to reach hard-to-get spots. While flossing, focus on between the teeth, under the brackets, and around the gums. This will help prevent dental decay. 
  • Avoid Certain Foods. Lastly, patients should avoid hard, sticky, chewy foods while wearing traditional metal braces. Everyday foods you should avoid include nuts, popcorn, bagels, certain candies, whole raw fruit, tough meat, and peanut butter. These foods commonly get stuck between the braces and the teeth. They are hard to remove, increasing the risk of developing dental decay. 


Orthodontic treatment at Nautical Dental and Braces can transform the appearance of your smile in only months to years. Good orthodontic care can also improve your oral and overall health. For more information about orthodontic treatment options or to schedule an appointment, call our office today.